UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA
G. H. VANSELL
THE HONEYBEE AS A POLLINIZER
E. E. DeONG
A study of apiculture in the state of California has been made in
order to determine the present conditions, possibilities, and needs of
the business of beekeeping, with special reference to the problems
confronting the beekeeper at the present time. This circidar is
intended to summarize the status of the industry in this state for the
guidance of the beginner or of the beekeeper from outside the state.
The diversity of the climatic conditions of California renders it
impossible to make satisfactory general statements regarding honey
production in the state. Some localities are entirely unsuited to bee-
keeping. Others, such as parts of Inyo and Modoc counties, have a
long season of nectar flow and produce a white honey, while still
others, such as the San Francisco Bay Region, have a comparatively
short season and the honey is more colored. There are marked local
variations in the season of nectar flow which have been utilized by
Californian beekeepers, who have introduced a migratory form of
the industry entirely new to most beekeepers of the eastern and
southern United States.
As the state has developed, certain factors have changed radically
the established system of beekeeping. The increase of introduced
plants such as the orange, alfalfa, and eucalyptus has added materially
to the nectar flow ; some native sources of nectar have been reduced ;
and the advent and wide dissemination of bee diseases have so increased
2 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
the time required for the care of bees that honey production is no
longer a profitable side issue for the fruit grower or general farmer
but has become the single enterprise of a specialist.
California has perhaps more "one-crop farmers" than any other
state. This affords an excellent opportunity to the beekeeper who
wishes to rent his bees to the orchardist, gardener or seed grower.
The problem of wintering bees, which is one of much difficulty in
most states, is not very serious in California, for the winter climate
in the valley floors and foothills is milder than that of most states.
Also the consumption of stores (loss in weight) during the winter is
but slight in most parts of the state. During January and February,
the major part of the so-called winter season, eucalyptus, manzanita,
and other plants yield nectar, which the bees are able to gather in
PRESENT STATUS OF HONEY PRODUCTION
Although California generally produces more honey than any other
state, this is to be accounted for in part by her great size. The follow-
ing table lists a few of the states with the area, number of colonies,
and honey production of each in a single year, arranged in order of
production per square mile of area. The recorded production for
California varies from 16,000,000 pounds (1916) to 1,000,000 pounds
* The recorded production probably represents less than 50 per cent of the
t The average production per colony for the United States as a whole during
the years 1899 to 1909 (U.S. Census) was 10 pounds.
A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA
THE DISTRIBUTION OF HIVE BEES IN CALIFORNIA
Bees are to be found, at least in favored spots, in every county in
California. The United States Census records for 1920 give the
number of colonies in the state as 180,719. The accompanying map
indicates the distribution by counties irrespective of locations in the
counties, and shows only the comparative distribution in the state.
It is well known that there are many more colonies than those recorded.
Butte o 789
Calaveras '. 418
Contra Costa 725
Del Norte 147
Los Angeles 18,817
San Benito 539
San Bernardino 13,186
San Diego 19,012
San Joaquin 3,177
San Luis Obispo 1,694
San Mateo 161
Santa Barbara 1,039
Santa Clara 3,275
Santa Cruz 506
Data from Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920, Vol. VI, part 3,
The six leading honey producing counties in the state, to judge
from the reported production in 1919, are: Imperial (667,676
pounds), San Bernardino (536,937), Los Angeles (519,019), San
Diego (480,165), Riverside (480,016), and Fresno (217,370). Area
being considered, Orange County ranks near the top of the list some
years, which means that Orange County has a very high yield to the
colony when conditions are favorable.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA — EXPERIMENT STATION
(JOEL NORTE I
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Tliis map indicates the distribution of bees in California. Each dot represents
one thousand colonies or a fraction thereof.
ClRC. 297] A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA 5
EACES OF BEES
All common hive bees in the United States belong to a single species
Apis mellifica. There are, however, several varieties of this species
which are commonly spoken of as races. They interbreed freely, and
it is the exception to find a race of bees which is not somewhat crossed
with another. All our hive bees have been imported from other
countries. The commonest races of honey bees present in North
America today are the following :* Italian, German or black,
Carniolan, Cyprian, and Caucasian.
Among beekeepers there are ardent supporters of all these varieties.
Most beekeepers, however, prefer the Italian bees, of which there are
several types. The Carniolans perhaps rank second in popularity.
The following brief statements indicate the colors and characteristics
of the five races named.
Italian. — The Italian strains were imported from Italy. The
various types of Italian bees are rather distinctive in color, which
is the basis of differentiation between the leather colored three banded,
the five banded, etc. This color variation character is quite noticeable
in the several parts of Italy. Roughly, the color becomes progressively
lighter toward the south. The bees of Sicily are decidedly light yellow
in color. The most popular strain in the United States today is the
three-banded or leather-colored. The Goldens are very pretty and
are usually gentle, but the experience of many beekeepers tends to
show that they are often not such good producers of honey as some of
the other strains.
The Italians in general are fairly prolific and are quite resistant
to European foulbrood. They winter well, are good producers, and
are gentler than many races.
Carniolan. — The Carniolans came originally from Carniola, in
Austria. They are large, blackish bees with bands of silver white
hairs on the hind margins of the abdominal segments. This combin-
ation makes them appear gray. They are very gentle, extremely
prolific, and winter well. The rapidity with which they increase
leads to excessive swarming when abundant room for brood and
storage is not provided during the swarming season.
A heavy demand for queens of a Carniolan-Italian cross has been
manifested in recent years. Many of these queens are sold to Nevada
beekeepers and others at high altitudes where the wintering problem
is somewhat difficult and the spring is late.
* It is no longer permissible under ordinary circumstances to bring in foreign
bees. United States quarantine laws were enacted to prevent the introduction
of Isle of Wight disease.
b UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
German. — The German bees are small and black. The "Spanish
Bee ' ' of California is thought to be this same old German type which
was brought into the state in early days by the Spanish Fathers.
These bees are often vicious with both sting and mandibles. They are
more susceptible to injury by the wax moth than the Italians. The
"blacks" are particularly subject to the European foulbrood disease.
Most beekeepers have attempted to abandon this race, yet traces of
them are still prevalent in many parts of the state. The German-
Italian hybrid is a very good combination, having enough spirit to
protect the colony effectively against tramps or marauding skunks,
Cyprian. — Cyprians are of a bright orange tinge, smaller in size
than the Italians, and with a pointed abdomen, the forward part of
which is decidedly yellowish orange. They are not readily subdued
by smoke and sting viciously. American beekeepers have tried these
bees thoroughly. Their working ability is not questioned and they
are very prolific, but they are being abandoned on account of the
difficulty of handling them.
Caucasian. — The Caucasians, introduced into America from the
northern parts of the Caucasus, are largely of the gray type. Some
of them are yellowish, resembling the Italian. These bees are very
gentle, although they protect their hives well against robber bees.
They are very prolific, and in the main good bees. The tendency to
gather and use propolis lavishly and to build burr combs is quite
noticeable. Their susceptibility to European foulbrood is a very bad
feature which tends to limit their use in California. Despite these
two drawbacks, many of them are in use todaj^, especially in the south-
eastern United States.
Other races of hive bees not used in California that may be men-
tioned in passing are the Syrian, Egyptian, Grecian, and African.
Dr. E. F. Phillips, formerly Apiculturist in the Bureau of
Entomology of the United States Department of Agriculture, says
concerning the best races of bees : ' ' The question is hard to answer.
For comb honey production the German, Carniolan, and Caucasian
races have the advantage of capping the honey white, but the German
bees are especially subject to European foulbrood, Carniolans swarm
excessively (especially in comb honey production), and Caucasians
propolize badly. Without going any further into the merits and
demerits of the various races, it may be well to give the almost unani-
mous verdict of American beekeepers, which is in favor of the Italian
race. It is probably true that the test cannot be considered as free
ClRC. 297] A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA 7
from prejudice, but the decision was made years ago and no special
reason has been presented for changing it. Since this race became
popular, it has been carefully bred, and it is easier to get good stock
of this race than of any other in the United States. It was the first
race brought into this country in the effort to improve on the early
introduced black bees, and proved so vastly superior that it soon took
a firm hold on American beekeepers. It is doubtful whether any other
race will be accepted as better, or even as good, by the majority of
beekeepers and certainly no markedly better race has been tried in
BEE AND QUEEN EAISING
There are over two hundred apiaries in the state which specialize
in queen rearing. Their total estimated output is more than half a
million queens annually. No figures are available for the production
of package bees but thousands of pounds of Italian and Carniolan
workers are marketed each year. These are sold to furnish nuclei
for new queens or to strengthen depleted colonies. Many queens and
bees are shipped to points outside of the state, going particularly to
Idaho, Nevada and Canada. Also many queens, mostly superior
breeding stock, are brought into California from other states each
year. The usual practice in queen rearing in California is to start
the queen cells above a strong "queen-right" colony (a normal colony
with an accepted queen) over a queen excluder. Both nuclei and full-
sized standard frame hives are used for mating queens. Very few
locations are ideally situated for queen rearing operations because
the production of good queens requires hot nights and a superabund-
ance of nectar and pollen over a long period. The absence of queen
enemies (dragon flies, king birds, fly catchers) is desirable.
CLASSES AND KINDS OF HONEY
Honey is sold largely according to color and body. The thick,
light-colored honeys command the highest prices as a rule. This
market condition has grown up through long years, but in many
ways the preference for light-colored honeys is unfortunate as these
honeys are by no means always of the best flavor. By far the greater
part of the commercial honey produced in California is extracted.
Water white, white, light amber, amber, and dark amber are the com^
monest classes of extracted honey. Profitable comb honey production
in the United States is generally limited to areas where there is an
intense nectar flow, and where the flora is productive of a light-colored
8 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
honey. In many countries the production of comb honey is not so
limited because of a preference for the darker honeys. Comb honey
grades are based upon such qualities as color, weight, size, and attrac-
tiveness. Chunk honey, which is so commonly marketed in the south-
eastern states, is rarely produced here.
A candied honey market is being developed rapidly. Certain
kinds of honeys, alfalfa, blue curl, etc., granulate to a suitable con-
sistence for slicing into bars, while others become semi-solid like
peanut butter. Storage with sharp temperature changes hastens
granulation. Honey in this form is used mainly to spread on bread
or crackers in making sandwiches.
Since this state produces more honey than it consumes, many
beekeepers fear overproduction, but the world demand for honey has
not yet been satisfied. The imports of honey to the United States
usually exceed the exports. The annual per capita consumption of
sweets in the United States is between 80 and 100 pounds, and is
increasing, while the average consumption of honey is but 2y 2 pounds.
Honey is a sugar and can be used in the place of granulated sugar for
cooking. It makes delicious candy, cookies, cakes, etc. The many
uses to which honey may be put have not been sufficiently impressed
upon the housewives of the country; in fact only a few use honey at
all. However, when once tried almost everybody likes it. Advertising
campaign of various sorts have proved to be of service in bringing
this food into the homes of new users.
Beeswax comes only from the wax glands of the bee ; it cannot be
manufactured artificially. Old hive combs melted down constitute
the chief source of beeswax in the United States today. Many bee-
keepers are rather careless with their old combs and do not obtain the
full amount of wax possible. The domestic supply of wax is insuffi-
cient to supply the commercial demand, so the United States imports
a great quantity of beeswax to use in the many trades requiring it.
Wax always sells readily, and brings a good price. There is no doubt
that the wax now wasted by beekeepers of the United States if saved
would at least double the available supply. All wax, even the small
pieces that may be trimmed off the top bars inside of hive walls, should
be saved. The material may be allowed to accumulate until the slack
season and then all rendered at one time.
ClRC. 297] A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA
PKOFITS IN BEEKEEPING
Most individuals who commence beekeeping do so with a great
deal of enthusiasm, much of which is induced by the advertising of
dealers and manufacturers in beekeeping supplies. The rosy expecta-
tions aroused are apt to occupy the mind of a beginner so thoroughly
that the possibility of loss and disappointment is not considered. Bees,
when properly cared for, require a great deal of time and attention,
and here in the west there are frequent unfavorable years when the
beekeeper will reap nothing and will even have to stand a loss. How-
ever, much money has been made in the beekeeping industry and
much more money will be made by proper attention to the details of
The yearly production of extracted honey (spring count) in Calif-
ornia is figured from statistical records to vary from to 70 pounds
per colony, according to the season. The average is recorded as 40
pounds; exceptional individual colonies may run over the maximum
amount of 70 pounds. Careful beekeepers can normally expect to get a
yield above the indicated average. The average wholesale price received
by the producer for all grades of (extracted) honey in California is
approximately 7 or 8 cents a pound (1923-25). This is from % to
x /2 the price that the consumer pays for honey.
The amount invested in beekeeping equipment is low when com-
pared with that put into many agricultural projects, for many suc-
cessful beemen own no land and those with apiaries located on small
acreages have free range over the area about their locations. Figured
solely on the basis of capital invested, the returns appear much
greater than in most farming projects.
A colony of bees housed in a standard ten-frame hive can be
purchased at present (1925) in California for from four to six
dollars. During the recent war as much as $18.00 a colony was paid,
but the average price over a period of years is between eight and ten
dollars per colony. No one should think of going into apiculture as a
business with fewer than 100 colonies; some of the men who are
making money out of beekeeping are running between 500 and 1000
colonies. The prospective beekeeper should provide a shop for hous-
ing the extracting equipment, the settling tanks, wax press, comb
sterilizer, and miscellaneous equipment and supplies. The shop should
be large enough for storing the honey and must be bee-tight. The
approximate cost of new equipment and housing (exclusive of bees
and hives) need not be over $1000 for a small apiary. Unless a pros-
10 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
pective beekeeper in California gives careful consideration to all the
factors on which the profits of beekeeping depend, he is not likely to
make it a financial success.
NECTAR AND POLLEN PLANTS
The importance of knowing the nectar producing flora is very
evident. Beekeeping depends in the first instance entirely upon the
presence of suitable nectar yielding plants. Plants vary in their
utility as sources of honey with the location, altitude, soil, exposure,
and other natural factors. Cool climates are conducive to nectar
flow in some plants, while for others much warmer climates are
necessary. Bees, too, are very susceptible to air temperatures, and
work best in warm places.
The most prominent nectar producing plants in California are
the black, white and purple sages, the orange, alfalfa, and the star
thistle. Alfalfa, which occurs in all irrigated and some unirrigated
sections of the state, is undoubtedly the most reliable as a heavy
nectar producer. The orange, which is very variable in nectar yield
from year to year, blossoms so early that bees are often unable to
gather the nectar on account of cool, foggy weather. The star thistle
is a common weed which is gradually spreading over northern Calif-
ornia. It is most abundant in the northern Sacramento valley. The
area of the sages mentioned extends from Mt. Diablo southward along
the coast range into Mexico. The yield from these plants is especially
subject to sharp yearly fluctuation because they depend entirely on
the rainfall, which is not always sufficient for luxuriant growth.
Cotton may become important as a honey producer here, as it is
already in the south-central United States.
Scores of other nectar plants are of importance to the California
beekeeper. On the basis of these the state has been divided by M. C.
Richter,* into eleven honey regions. The general location of the
plants, with the time of blossoming, is included in Richter's bulletin.
Coleman's articles on "Beekeeping in our California National For-
ests" (Western Honey Bee, February, 1921 to, January, 1922) con-
tain a good list of honey plants of the state. Pellet's "American
Honey Plants" (published by the American Bee Journal, Hamilton,
Illinois) is a recent and more inclusive publication.
* Bulletin No. 217, University of California Agricultural Experiment Station.
(Now out of print but may be consulted at public libraries).
ClRC. 297] A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA 11
Some of the leading nectar and pollen plants* of California are
listed below. Not all of these plants are found in any one location
and in some places some of them are of no value.
Black saget Salvia mellifera
White sage, Salvia apiana
Certain other true sages and mints.
Alfalfa, Medicago sativa
Orange, Citrus aurantium
Yellow star thistle, Centaurea solstitialis
Certain other plants of the thistle tribe, such as the milk thistle, purple
star thistle, tocalote (Napa thistle), etc.
Christmas berry (Toyon), Photinia arbutifolia
Sumacs, Bhus laurina and others.
Mustards, Brassica nigra, etc.
Bear clover (mountain misery), Chamaebatia foliolosa
Deer weed (or wild alfalfa), Lotus glaber
Elms, Ulmus spp.
Smartweed (in swampy areas), Polygonum spp.
Goldenrods, Solidago spp.
Wild lilacs, Ceanothus spp. (Deer brush C. thrysiflorus, Blue blossom
C. integerrimus, and Buck brush C. cuneatus)
White sweet clover, Mclilotus alba and M. a. Hubamiensis
Almond, plum, cherry, apple and certain other deciduous fruit trees
Carpet grass, Lippia nodiflora and others
Coffee berry, Bhamnus calif ornica
Poison oak, Bhus diversiloba
Cascara sagrada, Bhamnus purshiana
Madrofia, Arbutus menziesii
Manzanita or bearberry, Arctostaphylos manzanita and other species
Wild buckwheat, Eriogonum fasciculatum
Lima bean, Phascolus lunatus
Jackass clover, Wislizcnia refracta
Various phacelias (sheep tansy, etc.)
Willows, Salix spp.
California buckeye, Aesculus calif oryiica
Red, blue and other gums, Eucalyptus spp.
Button bush (called Willow), Ccphalanthus occidentalis
Blue curls, Trichostema lanceolatum
White clover, Trifolium repens.
Various acacias, Acacia spp.
Mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa
Filaree, Erodium cicutarium and others
Cultivated flowering plants (various)
Burr clover, Medicago denticulata
Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
* Many specimens of the plants listed were kindly determined by Dr. W. W.
Eobbins, Dr. E. M. Holman and Mr. H. A. Borthwick, University of California,
t These plants are listed roughly in the order of their importance.
12 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
Tar weeds, Hemitonia spp.
Yellow sweet clover, Melilotus officinalis
Certain berry blossoms. Kaspberry, loganberry, gooseberry, currants,
blackberry and others
Certain melon blossoms and other vines of the gourd family. Cantaloupe,
muskmelon, watermelon, cucumber, squash, pumpkin and others
Sun flowers (various)
Certain oaks, Quercus lobata, Q. douglasii, Q. agri-folia, and others
Aphid honey dew from various plants
Certain yuccas and cacti
Black locust, Eobinia pseudo-acacia
Cotton, Gossypium herbacem, G. barbadense and others
Certain plants are believed to secrete nectar or yield pollen which
is detrimental to the honey bee. In some sections of the state, bee-
keepers are sure that the California buckeye causes the loss of many
colonies of bees every year, while others are just as sure that the
buckeye is a good honey plant. In the Napa Valley, bees located but
a few miles apart vary decidedly in their reaction to the effects of
this plant. Possibly this discrepancy is caused by climatic conditions
and the presence or absence of other nectars at the time of buckeye
blooming. It is certain that many plants vary distinctly in their
nectar secreting power, and that nectar secreted by a given plant
varies in its physical and chemical nature with differences in soil and
rainfall. This is especially true in California. During dry years
when the annual vegetation dries up early bees are apt to suffer heavy
losses while feeding on buckeye almost exclusively. The problem of
buckeye poisoning needs more attention.
The nectar of many plants may become toxic through the appli-
cation of certain sprays. Bees are sometimes very thirsty and will
drink spray adhering to any part of the plant. This habit may be
counteracted to a certain extent by supplying abundant fresh water.
Bees like to drink in a sunny place, protected from the wind. No
thought is usually given to providing drinking facilities when locating
bees for pollination purposes, but from the standpoint of poisoning by
spray chemicals, this may easily be a factor of considerable import-
Disease is making alarming inroads upon the beekeeping industry
in California. American foulbrood and European foulbrood are now
causing serious losses in bees and honey crops annually. Paralysis,
sac brood, dysentry, "buckeye poisoning," and spray poisoning are
also causing losses. Government and state experiment station bulle-
ClRC. 297] a SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA 13
tins treating of the symptoms and treatment of bee diseases are
available upon request, and should be consulted by the beekeepers
for more detailed accounts. (Samples of suspected brood will be
diagnosed without charge by the Bureau of Entomology, U.S.D.A.,
Washington, D.C., or the Branch of the College of Agriculture, Davis,
Alcohol-formalin and other mixtures are now being used to dis-
infect brood combs infected with American foulbrood so that destruc-
tion of these combs is no longer necessary. Much care is required in
the disinfection of combs by these methods and unless the beekeeper
is prepared to proceed thoroughly the process is a waste of energy
The California apiary inspection law,* which makes it possible
for any county to have a bee inspector appointed upon a petition of ten
beekeepers, is intended to help prevent the importation of disease
from other states or counties and to compel the negligent beekeeper
to clean up his apiary. The bee industry in California is important
enough to warrant a bee inspector, for at least part of the year, in
The larvae of certain moths (Galleria mellonella and Achroia
grissclla) destroy combs by burrowing through them, constructing
tunnels of silk and eating the wax. They do not eat honey. While,
as is well known, these insects can do no damage in a strong, healthy,
well managed colony of bees, they are recognized as an enemy by
California beekeepers. Because the climate of California is mild,
the wax moth has opportunity to work for a large part of the year.
The loss to the industry, through its depredations, amounts in the
aggregate to a large sum. Extracting combs in storage are destroyed
by thousands every year and the combs in the hives of weakened
colonies are often a total loss before the work of the moth is discovered.
Better beekeeping will almost eliminate the loss from weakened
colonies, and proper storing with paradichlorobenzene gas will stop
the destruction of stored combs. The use of good Italian stock in
preference to black bees will help to maintain the colonies in strong
condition at all times.
* A copy of this law may be obtained from the Division of Entomology, Uni-
versity of California, Branch of the College of Agriculture, Davis.
14 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
NEEDS OF BEEKEEPING INDUSTRY IN CALIFORNIA
STUDY OF LITEEATUKE
The importance to the industry of beekeepers owning and studying
literature can hardly be overestimated. A number of bulletins and
books are listed in a supplement to this paper dealing with the struc-
ture, habits and care of bees. Every beekeeper should subscribe to
one or more of the current journals dealing with the subject of bees.
BETTER ORGANIZATION FOR CO-ORDINATION OF INTERESTS
Cooperative selling must be adopted if all the producers are to
receive a fair price. A better general spirit of cooperation is necessary
in the beekeeping industry in this state. Non-commercial county and
regional organizations of an educational nature affiliated into a strong
state association seems a logical plan upon which to build a cooperative
structure. Under the recent conditions of discouraging crops and
prices, some even of the stronger county associations have almost
ceased to exist. "Get together and stick" is conceded to be the best
method of improvement. Beekeepers may well follow the example
of the hive by placing the interest of the whole group above that of
any single individual. There are now, perhaps, plenty of organiza-
tions for all beekeepers to be included in the lists of membership. The
need is for better rather than for more organizations.
The marketing of a product after production is apparently coming
to be the largest problem in agriculture. This is very true of the honey
industry. The fear of overproduction of honey will no longer exist
when the problem of marketing is solved, in which case the producer
will be reasonably sure of receiving a price for his honey that will
insure a profit, and, at the same time, the consumer will not be over-
California has a large number of bees. The pollen and nectar
producing flora of the state is abundant and the honey is of the high-
est quality. The actual returns received by the average beekeeper are
not in keeping with the optimistic reports that one so often hears.
Beekeeping, however, is a business which, when well managed, gives
an excellent return on the capital and labor invested.
Since it is impossible to change the nature of the honey bee,
improvements can be made only by changes in the methods of the
A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA
beekeepers and in the methods of marketing their crop. Improvements
in actual beekeeping will be possible when the habits and the behavior
of bees are better understood. The beekeeper who possesses informa-
tion as to how his bees will respond to any particular environmental
stimulus will be enabled so to arrange his plans as to take the fullest
advantage of any situation which may arise.
A careful study of the beekeeping industry in California and
interviews with beekeepers and those who are striving to introduce
better methods of distribution in other branches of agriculture,
indicate that the plan which gives most promise for meeting 1 the need
is through the personal contact of an extension worker.
BULLETINS FOE FEEE DISTRIBUTION
The following bulletins may be obtained free from the Depart-
ment of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
Honey and Its Uses in the Home.
Outdoor Wintering of Bees.
Transferring Bees to Modern Hives.
Control of European Foulbrood.
Preparation of Bees for Outdoor Wintering.
Wintering Bees in Cellars.
Commercial Comb Honey Production.
Control of American Foulbrood.
Beekeeping in the Clover Eegion.
Beekeeping in the Buckwheat Eegion.
Beekeeping in the Tulip-tree Eegion.
Sweet Clover, Growing the Crop.
Sweet Clover, Utilization.
Sweet Clover Harvesting and Trashing the Seed Crop.
Sweet Clover on Corn Belt Farms.
BULLETINS FOE SALE BY THE SUPEELNTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS
The following publications are not available in the Department of
Agriculture, but may be purchased at the prices indicated. Remit-
tances should be made to the Superintendent of Documents, Govern-
ment Printing Office, Washington, D. C, by postal money order,
16 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
Express Order, or New York draft. If currency is sent, it will be at
the sender's risk. Postage stamps, defaced or worn coins, foreign
coins and uncertified checks will not be accepted.
Dept. Bull. 431. Sacbrood 10 cents
Dept. Bull. 685. Honeybees and Honey Production in the United
States 10 cents
Dept. Bull. 780. Nosema Disease 10 cents
Dept. Bull. 804. A Study of the Behavior of European Foulbrood
of Bees in the Colony 5 cents
Dept. Bull. 809. American Foulbrood 15 cents
Dept. Bull. 810. European Foulbrood 10 cents
Dept. Bull. 988. Heat Production of Honeybees in Winter 5 cents
JOURNALS PUBLISHED IN THE UNITED STATES:*
American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Illinois.
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Medina, Ohio.
Beekeeper's Review, 1401 N. Chestnut St. Lansing, Michigan.
Beekeeper 's Item, New Braunf els,, Texas.
The Western Honeybee, 2823 E. Fourth St., Los Angeles, California.
The California Honey Bowl, Riverside, California.
Dixie Beekeeper, Waycross, Georgia.
Bees and Honey, Seattle, Washington.
BOOKS OF INTEREST TO BEEKEEPERS:
These may be obtained from any dealer in beekeeping supplies,
from publishers of bee journals, and from general book dealers.
ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture, A. I. and E. R, Root.
Beekeeping, E. F. Phillips.
Langstroth on the Hive and Honey Bee, revised by C. P. Dadant.
Fifty Years Among the Bees, C. C. Miller.
A Thousand Answers to Beekeeping Questions, C. C. Miller.
Scientific Queen Rearing, G. M. Doolittlo.
Advanced Bee Culture, W. Z. Hutchinson.
Productive Beekeeping, F. C. Pellet.
American Honey Plants, F. C. Pellet.
Beekeeping in the South, Kenneth Hawkins.
The Honey Bee, Mrs. A. B. Comstock.
There are some 15 manufacturers of bee supplies in the United
States. The equipment of no one company can be specially recom-
mended, but a list of manufacturers and dealers will be supplied upon
* There are 165 beekeeping publications in existance on the earth today.
ClRC. 297] a SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA 17
THE HONEYBEE AS A POLLINIZER
E. E. deONG
Insects are necessary for the pollination of most deciduous fruit
trees excepting certain nuts. Horticulturists who have studied the
pollination of fruits emphasize the danger of relying upon self-fertiliz-
ation, particularly when a single type is grown in large areas. Under
most conditions dependence must be placed on the aid of insects and
especially of the honeybee for pollination. 1 We are now realizing some-
thing of the possibilities of this insect structurally so well adapted
for working among flowers. Certainly it would seem that this insect
is worthy of more study, and possibly when its real value is known
it will be found that the honeybee should be esteemed more for its
pollinizing value than for the honey and wax which it produces even
though these are valued at millions of dollars annually.
Of all the insects that visit flowers, bees are the best adapted by
the structure of the body to act as carriers of pollen. The body and
legs are covered with heavy, stiff hairs which are branched or feather-
like. These catch and hold the pollen grains until they are brushed
into a "pollen basket" on the hind leg. In this carrier the load of
pollen is transported to the hive. However, all bees are not of equal
value as pollinizers as some of them do not visit all types of flowers 1
and others may even restrict themselves to a single species of plant.
The honeybee and the bumblebee, however, visit almost all flowers
with little restriction except that they evidently confine themselves
to a single species on any one trip.
We have many native species of bees such as bumblebees, carpen-
ter-bees, leaf cutters and others, but only in rare instances are any
of these active during the early spring, and then only in very restricted
numbers. The bumblebee is one of the earliest of the native bees to
feed in the spring, but the entire colony, except the queen, perishes
during the winter. In the spring the whole responsibility of rebuild-
i The following California Experiment Station bulletins giving details of
experiments on pollination of fruits are now available in the files of public
libraries: Bulletins 274 and 291 (second report, The Common Honeybee as an
Agent in Prune Pollination; Bulletin 306, Almond Pollination. There are a
limited number, available upon request at this date of publication, of Bulletin
346, Almond Pollination, and Bulletin 352, Further Experiments in Plum
18 UNIVERSITY OP CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
ing the colony devolves upon the queen. She lays and incubates the
eggs, seven to sixteen in number, feeds the newly hatched larvae and
only after the first brood matures can she give her strength entirely
to brood rearing. By fall the colony may have grown to a size of from
one to five hundred individuals. Certain of the mining bees, Halictus,
which nest in the sides of cliffs, have one or two generations a year.
The spring generation consists of hibernating, fertilized females
which give rise to a summer generation. The leaf-cutting bee, Mega-
chile spp., apparently has but one generation a year and includes but
a small number of individuals. The carpenter-bee, Ceratina dupla,
has two broods a year which are very restricted in numbers.
These examples are typical of the life history of our common
native species of bees that have from one to five or six-brood cycles
annually, while the number of individuals range from a score to a
few hundred. Comparing this with the honeybee's record of from
twelve to fifteen brood cycles 2 a year, all the descendants of a single
queen, which may reach a hundred thousand bees annually, or more,
we realize the wonderful reproductive powers of this insect. It
should also be noted that instead of the death of all the workers, the
winter's mortality among honeybees is usually very slight. From
five hundred to sixty thousand may be present in a single colony at
the close of winter and two or more brood cycles may be reared in
the spring before many of the fruit trees bloom.
A comparison of the flight activity of the honeybee with the bloom-
ing period of our chief deciduous fruits is given in Table I. The
flight records of two years were made at or within a few miles of the
University of California campus.
A study of Table I reveals the intimate relationship between
meteorological factors and the activity of the honeybee. Temperature
is usually considered the most significant factor but at the range pre-
vailing during the blooming period of deciduous fruits, the degree of
cloudiness and rain is more important. It will be noted that on only
one day, viz., March 5th, did a low temperature (48° F.) stop nearly
all flight on a clear day. Rain checked all flight, however, on eleven
days although the temperature ranged from 52° to 70° F. Such
reactions to temperature and rain are not confined to the honeybee
but are general among pollinizing insects. It will also be noted that
the bees showed a high degree of activity on partly cloudy days unless
2 By brood cycles is meant the time of development for the worker from the
egg to the adult bee, in any group of brood cells. This time is given at twenty-
Comparison of the Flight Activity of the Honeybee and the Blooming
Period of Fruits ,a with Meteorological Data
Period of bloom
Part cloudy, calm
Warm, part clear, north
Part cloudy, bright, cool
Hazy, light wind
Part cloudy, warm, foggy,
Part cloudy, cold, foggy
Clear, warm breeze
Hazy, warm, breeze
Clear, cool, breeze, N. wind
Clear, wi ndy
Part cloudy, cool
Clear, cool, breeze
Clear, cool, wind
Cloudy, cool, breeze
Clear, cool, wind
Clear, warm, breeze
Clear, warm, breeze
Hot, dry, clear
Hot, dry, clear
Hot, dry, clear
Hot, dry, clear
Cool, dry, clear, part cloudy
Cool, dry, clear, part cloudy
Cool, dry, clear, part cloudy
Cool, rain, part cloudy
Cool, part cloudy
Rain, part cloudy
Medium, part cloudy
Clear and warm
Rain, part cloudy
Rain, part cloudy
3 The phenological data were compiled by members of the Division of Pomology at Berkeley, Cali-
* Temperature taken at 1:30 P.M.
20 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
the temperature dropped to about 52° F. Such activity in cloudy
weather or when the sunshine is irregular, is necessary for successful
pollination since this is the prevailing type of weather during the
blooming period of deciduous fruits in the greater part of California.
This activity will be increased if the hives are placed in favorable posi-
tions where the sunshine will strike the hive entrance as this will
stimulate the bees to make flights at every opportunity.
The superiority of the honeybee as a pollinizer is due to several
causes: first, the workers do not die in the fall or early winter as do
those of the bumblebee and many other species; second, the honeybee
winters in an active condition instead of being dormant or resting in
the egg or pupal stage as do most bees ; third, the honeybee is the only
insect pollinizer which can be distributed as desired in the orchard;
fourth, it is possible to increase the number of field bees (those gather-
ing nectar and pollen) or "build up" a colony so that a large number
will be available very early in the spring. The experienced beekeeper
has long recognized the fact that a heavy flow of nectar stimulates
egg-laying on the part of the queen. The same activity may be se-
cured in the early spring even before there is a natural flow of nectar
by feeding sugar syrup. Hence, by properly timing the giving of
extra food, egg-laying will begin sufficiently early so that the increase
in the number of bees will be just before the blooming season.
MANAGEMENT OF BEES IN THE ORCHARD
The orchardist's interest in bees is different from that of the pro-
fessional beekeeper. The latter is seeking to produce, in large quan-
tities, beeswax and honey of a desired flavor, while the pollinizing
value of the bee is secondary. For such work it is necessary to
increase to a maximum the number of field bees in the colony at a time
of the year when there is the heaviest flow of nectar of the desired
type. The orchardist's viewpoint is entirely different, the bee to
him is a pollinizing agent which is of value in the assistance it gives
in setting a crop of fruit, the gathering of nectar is of minor import-
ance. In fact the nectar secreted by many of our deciduous orchard
trees does not make a marketable honey but one which is of value only
as food for the bees.
Bees that are to be used for spring pollination work require, in
many parts of the state, abundant food and protection against cold
during the winter. Brood-rearing should, if possible, be continued
until late fall and then twenty to thirty pounds of honey left in each
colony or even more for very large colonies and in mountainous regions.
ClRC. 297] A SURVEY OF BEEKEEPING IN CALIFORNIA 21
A well-filled standard frame is usually considered as weighing five
pounds. Weak colonies should be united and the inferior queens killed.
The brood-chamber may also be reduced to conserve the heat of the
cluster. If insufficient food is allowed, the field bees are forced to work
at every opportunity possible during the winter which leads to a reduc-
tion in their number. Colonies which have exhausted their stores should
be supplied with more honey or given a thin sugar syrup made of two
parts of granulated sugar to one part of water. For stimulative feed-
ing in early spring, the formula is changed to one part of sugar to
two parts of water by volume. One ounce of tartaric acid is added to
forty or fifty pounds of sugar while the solution is still hot; this
prevents granulation and changes the sugar to a more digestible form.
Honey gathered from orchard trees, especially the stone fruits, is
usually of poor flavor and may be stored for winter feeding.
THE OECHAED SITE
For orchards of small or moderate size, the bees can usually be
located in one apiary as they readily fly a distance of one-half mile.
For very large orchards, one or more out-apiaries may be advantage-
ous. A central location is more desirable than a location on one side.
Consideration should always be given to prevailing winds and any
considerable elevation. The loaded bee traveling homeward should
be going with the prevailing wind and downward rather than up,
otherwise, many will fail to reach the hive and if compelled to remain
out over night will probably be chilled to death. A sheltered place
should be chosen, preferably with a windbreak of bushes or a wall on
the north side so as to break heavy winds and yet leave the hives
exposed to the sun. Hive entrances should be faced so that the sun
will strike them at least through the middle of the day; tall weeds
and grass should be kept down in front of the hives. A constant sup-
ply of fresh, pure water is necessary and if deep containers are used,
floats such as small boards or slices of cork should be kept in the
water. If an arsenical or nicotine spray is applied to the orchard,
especially in dry weather, it is best to keep the bees confined during
as much of the spraying season as possible. Bees will endure pro-
longed confinement at low temperatures if pure food is available.
If the weather is sufficiently warm, however, so that they are active
in the hive, then confinement for more than one day may prove dan-
gerous. Under these conditions, the length of time that the hives
are closed should be left to the judgment of a professional beekeeper.
The question of suitable sprays for the orchard, particularly arsen-
22 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA EXPERIMENT STATION
icals, has long been a point of controversy between the orchardist
and the beekeeper and a definite policy concerning- this should be
agreed upon before entering into contracts.
The number of colonies of bees necessary for good pollination
work varies with the strength of the colony and the size of the
orchard. Usually one colony (hive) to the acre is considered suffi-
SHALL THE OECHAEDIST OWN BEES?
There are three ways open to the orchardist whereby he may
secure sufficient bees for the needs of his orchard: (1) rental from a
professional beekeeper; (2) employment of a trained beekeeper to
care for bees owned or leased; (3) ownership and personal care.
The first method is one that has been commonly practiced. The
bees are placed in the orchard during the blooming season and then
moved elsewhere. Such an arrangement is advantageous in many
respects to both parties ; the orchardist is relieved of the responsibility
of caring for the apiary throughout the year, while the beekeeper
receives a small income long before he could normally expect returns
in honey production.
The employment of a trained beekeeper by one or by a group
of orchardists is now being favored. One experienced man can care
for two or three hundred colonies or even more with a little extra
help during swarming time, during outbreaks of disease, or should
there be any considerable surplus of honey that is desired to harvest.
Under this plan the ownership of the bees may be in the hands of the
orchardist or cartetaker. It should be noted that this plan is designed
for regions where the production of honey is subordinated to pollin-
ation work, and hence does not require the shifting of bees to regions
of nectar bearing plants.
The ownership and care of bees by the orchardist is fraught with
considerable danger unless he is familiar with the work. Bees are
subject to very serious contagious diseases especially in the larval
stage and on account of the roving disposition of the field bees and
their tendency to rob weak colonies the infection may be disseminated
among clean apiaries. Such diseases thrive in poorly kept apiaries
with weak queens, and only constant vigilance and vigorous measures
will check them. An orchardist with little time to spare may neglect
his apiary at a critical time either during the outbreak of disease or
the swarming season, and then find that it is too weak for self-
support and only a menace to the neighborhood.
STATION PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR FREE DISTRIBUTION
253. Irrigation and Soil Conditions in the 357.
Sierra Nevada Foothills, California.
261. Melaxuma of the Walnut, "Juglans
262. Citrus Diseases of Florida and Cuba
Compared with Those of California. 359.
263. Size Grades for Ripe Olives. 361.
268. Growing and Grafting Olive Seedlings.
273. Preliminary Report on Kearney Vine- 362.
yard Experimental Drain. 363.
275. The Cultivation of Belladonna in Cali-
276. The Pomegranate.
277. Sudan Grass 365.
278.' Grain Sorghums. 366.
279. Irrigation of Rice in California.
280. Irrigation of Alfalfa in the Sacramento 367.
283. The Olive Insects of California. 368.
285. The Milk Goat in California.
294. Bean Culture in California. 369.
304. A Study of the Effects of Freezes on 370.
Citrus in California. 371.
310. Plum Pollination.
312. Mariout Barley. 372.
313. Pruning Young Deciduous Fruit Trees.
319. Caprifigs and Caprification. 373.
324. Storage of Perishable Fruit at Freezing 374.
325. Rice Irrigation Measurements and Ex-
periments in Sacramento Valley, 375.
328. Prune Growing in California. 376.
331. Phylloxera-Resistant Stocks.
334. Preliminary Volume Tables for Second- 377.
Growth Redwood. 379.
335. Cocoanut Meal as a Feed for Dairy 380.
Cows and Other Livestock.
339. The Relative Cost of Making Logs from 381.
Small and Large Timber.
340. Control of the Pocket Gopher in Cali- 382.
343. Cheese Pests and Their Control. 383.
344. Cold Storage as an Aid to the Market-
ing of Plums. 384.
346. Almond Pollination.
347. The Control of Red Spiders in Decidu-
ous Orchards. 385.
348. Pruning Young Olive Trees. 386.
349. A Study of Sidedraft and Tractor
350. Agriculture in Cut-over Redwood Lands. 388.
352. Further Experiments in Plum Pollina-
353. Bovine Infectious Abortion. 390.
354. Results of Rice Experiments in 1922.
A Self-mixing Dusting Machine for
Applying Dry Insecticides and
Black Measles, Water Berries, and
Related Vine Troubles.
Fruit Beverage Investigations.
Preliminary Yield Tables for Second
Dust and the Tractor Engine.
The Pruning of Citrus Trees in Cali-
Fungicidal Dusts for the Control of
Avocado Culture in California.
Turkish Tobacco Culture, Curing and
Methods of Harvesting and Irrigation
in Relation to Mouldy Walnuts.
Bacterial Decomposition of Olives dur-
Comparison of Woods for Butter Boxes.
Browning of Yellow Newtown Apples.
The Relative Cost of Yarding Small
and Large Timber.
The Cost of Producing Market Milk and
Butterfat on 246 California Dairies.
A Survey of Orchard Practices in the
Citrus Industry of Southern Cali-
Results of Rice Experiments at Cor-
Sun-Drying and Dehydration of Wal-
The Cold Storage of Pears.
Walnut Culture in California.
Growth of Eucalyptus in California
Growing and Handling Asparagus
Pumping for Drainage in the San
Joaguin Valley, California.
Monilia Blossom Blight (Brown Rot)
A Study of the Relative Values of Cer-
tain Succulent Feeds and Alfalfa Meal
as Sourses of Vitamin A for Poultry.
Pollination of the Sweet Cherry.
Pruning Bearing Deciduous Fruit
The Principles and Practice of Sun-
Berseem or Egyptian Clover.
Harvesting and Packing Grapes in
87. Alfalfa. 157.
113. Correspondence Courses in Agriculture. 160.
117. The Selection and Cost of a Small 164.
Pumping Plant. 165.
127. House Fumigation.
129. The Control of Citrus Insects. 166.
136. Melilotus indica as a Green-Manure 167.
Crop for California. 170.
144. Oidium or Powdery Mildew of the Vine.
151. Feeding and Management of Hogs. 173.
152. Some Observations on the Bulk Hand-
ling of Grain in California. 178.
154. Irrigation Practice in Growing Small 179.
Fruit in California.
155. Bovine Tuberculosis. 184.
Control of the Pear Scab.
Lettuce Growing in California.
Small Fruit Culture in California.
Fundamentals of Sugar Beet Culture
under California Conditions.
The County Farm Bureau.
Feeding Stuffs of Minor Importance.
Fertilizing California Soils for the 1918
The Construction of the Wood-Hoop
The Packing of Apples in California.
Factors of Importance in Producing
Milk of Low Bacterial Count.
A Flock of Sheep on the Farm.
CIRCULARS — (Continued)
Agriculture Clubs in California.
Onion Growing in California.
County Organizations for Rural Fire
Peat as a Manure Substitute.
The Function of the Farm Bureau.
Suggestions to the Settler in California.
Salvaging Rain-Damaged Prunes.
Seed Treatment for the Prevention of
Feeding Dairy Cows in California.
Methods for Marketing Vegetables in
Unfermented Fruit Juices.
Vineyard Irrigation in Arid Climates.
Testing Milk, Cream, and Skim Milk
The Home Vineyard.
Harvesting and Handling California
Cherries for Eastern Shipment.
Winter Injury to Young Walnut Trees
Soil Analysis and Soil and Plant Inter-
The Common Hawks and Owls of Cali-
fornia from the Standpoint of the
Directions for the Tanning and Dress-
The Apricot in California.
Harvesting and Handling Apricots and
Plums for Eastern Shipment.
Harvesting and Handling Pears for
Harvesting and Handling Peaches for
Marmalade Juice and Jelly Juice from
Central Wire Bracing for Fruit Trees.
Vine Pruning Systems.
Colonization and Rural Development.
Some Common Errors in Vine Pruning
and Their Remedies.
Replacing Missing Vines.
Measurement of Irrigation Water on
Recommendations Concerning the Com-
mon Diseases and Parasites of
Poultry in California.
Supports for Vines.
The Use of Artificial Light to Increase
Winter Egg Production.
Leguminous Plants as Organic Fertil-
izer in California Agriculture.
The Control of Wild Morning Glory.
The Small-Seeded Horse Bean.
Thinning Deciduous Fruits.
A Selected List of References Relating
to Irrigation in California.
Sewing Grain Sacks.
Cabbage Growing in California.
Tomato Production in California.
Preliminary Essentials to Bovine Tuber-
Plant Disease and Pest Control.
Analyzing the Citrus Orchard by Means
of Simple Tree Records.
The Tendency of Tractors to Rise in
Front; Causes and Remedies.
Inexpensive Lavor-saving Poultry Ap-
An Orchard Brush Burner.
A Farm Septic Tank.
Brooding Chicks Artificially.
California Farm Tenancy and Methods
Saving the Gophered Citrus Tree.
Fusarium Wilt of Tomato and its Con-
trol by Means of Resistant Varieties.
Marketable California Decorative
Head, Cane, and Cordon Pruning of
Olive Pickling in Mediterranean Coun-
The Preparation and Refining of Olive
Oil in Southern Europe.
The Results of a Survey to Determine
the Cost of Producing Beef in Cali-
Prevention of Insect Attack on Stored
Fertilizing Citrus Trees in California.
The Almond in California.
Oak Fungus in Orchard Trees.
The Tangier Pea.
Blackhead and Other Causes of Loss
of Turkeys in California.
The Basis of Grape Standardization.
Propagation of Deciduous Fruits.
The publications listed above may be had by addressing
College of Agriculture,
University of California,